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can mitt romney and paul ryan jump into the way-back machine and win one for the gipper? it's tuesday, september 4th and this is "now." joining me today on set, mr. sunday morning himself, "new york times" magazine editor hugo
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lindgren whose cover story is titled "way to go ohio" about president obama's role in the infamous auto bailout. and publisher of "u.s. news and world report" and "new york daily news" mort zuckerman. it is 1980 all over again. that is if you ask the romney/ryan ticket. vp candidate paul ryan is reviving this famous line from the final reagan/carter debates. >> it might be well if you would ask yourself are you better off than you were four years ago? >> here is congressman ryan's take. >> i would ask the 23 million people today in america who are struggling to find work if they feel like they're better off. we're not better off than we were four years ago. >> every president since the great depression who asked americans to send them into a second term could say that you were better off today than you were four years ago except for jimmy carter and for president barack obama. >> we're not better off. we're worse off. >> today, the romney campaign is
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pushing the reagan strategy one step further by holding a we can do better press conference in charlotte. but in traditional romney fashion, the candidate himself hasn't always been so sure about his convictions. according to his personal testimony in 1994, mitt romney wasn't a supporter of ronald reagan. >> look, i was an independent during the time of reagan/bush. i'm not trying to return to reagan/bush. >> but romney's condemnation of reaganomics isn't stopping his running mate from referencing the playbook. the time warp continues with a walk through president carter's term with congressman ryan asserting the one term son of georgia was more successful than president obama. >> in 1980 under jimmy carter, 330,000 businesses filed for bankruptcy. last year, under president obama's failed leadership, 1.4 million businesses filed for bankruptcy. 77,000 delinquent mortgages by the time jimmy carter left office. under president obama, three million.
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>> can the president and his fellow dems escape the legacy of the killer rabbit? possibly, if they counter republican attacks with a few facts. in the year leading up to the president's inauguration the nation saw 11 straight months of job losses, more than 3.6 million jobs evaporated. under president obama the country has seen 23 straight months of job creation since 2010. president carter, meanwhile, entered office with much rosier conditions. in the same 11 months before his inauguration, the nation created nearly two million jobs, but job creation peaked during his second year and by the middle of his fourth year, the private sector job losses were in the triple digits. joining us now from washington is msnbc contributor and former chief economist of vice president biden, senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities, jared bernstein. great to see you. great to have you on the program. >> thank you for inviting me. >> let's talk about this new line of attack which is comparing the president to jimmy
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carter. i guess, a, do you think it's fair and b, how can team obama successfully rebut these claims? >> i don't think it makes a lot of sense to compare today's conditions to those of 30 plus years ago. that's not four years ago. i'm not sure i really understand the line of attack at all. frankly, it doesn't make sense in many of the ways you have shown so far. remember, if you're going to be a president and you have to have a recession, you want to kind of get it out of the way as soon as you can. what happened to jimmy carter is toward the end of his term, he ran into the very deep recession of the early 1980s. under president obama's first term, you saw the economy, jobs, gdp growth start to come out of the recession. if you look at some business indicators, indicators of the health of the business sector, huge differences there. if you look, for example, at the rate of corporate profitability, it's actually done very well under president obama. it was heading south under president carter. if you look at the stock market, the stock market grew a factor
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of two or three times more quickly under president obama than it did under jimmy carter. so i don't think it's a winner for them. >> mort, i want to ask you, i feel this is a two-pronged attack. one is that paul ryan is trying to cite facts and figures that make president obama's time in office look to be not very good as far as the economy. the other is to conjure this image of an ineffective one-term president who is out of his league which seems to be a narrative the republicans have been pushing for some time. which do you think is more potent? >> i think think are both potent, in terms of the economy anyhow. we have had, with all due respect to a very distinguished economist like the man who just preceded me, we have had a very weak four years in the context of the stimulus and monetary policy so you now have had a situation where the average loss of net worth is roughly 40% for the average american family in the last four years and secondly, you have a situation where 66% of americans today think the country is in the
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wrong direction. the mood of the country in terms of general confidence is the lowest it's been when you consider the fact that we have added $5 trillion to our national debt and we have had such a small level of reaction and accomplishment to it, in my judgment and since i was involved with that, i have to say it was in good part because that stimulus program was badly structured and didn't do nearly enough for the money that was spent. so i think there is a feeling that this is not and has not been going well. i might add that family incomes have also gone down in real terms, if you adjusted for inflation, over the last four years, almost by record amounts. this does not tell you that the american public is going to be confident about the management of the economy. >> the thing that is always surprising to me here is the race remains -- the numbers have remained the same if you're looking at president obama and mitt romney in head-to-head matchups. it's almost stagnant. yet, you look as you said, the numbers on right track/wrong track, 29% of the country
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believes we're on the right track. 69% believes that we are on the wrong track. yet, in a gallup daily tracking poll, obama is at 47%, romney at 46%. it's unclear how much this is going to sway voters one way or the other. >> it speaks to romney's weakness as a candidate, for sure, the fact that the numbers haven't moved despite the fact that so many people in the country feel it's heading the wrong way. i think, you know, mort mentioned the word mood. i think that's what the carter/reagan sort of comparison is about. it's about appealing to americans about their mood. it's not a data play, it's not about job growth numbers this year. it's about how do you feel. i think the truth is a lot of americans don't feel very good and ultimately, how is that going to affect the way they vote. >> the difference between an optimist and a pessimist when it comes to mood and the economy, an optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds and a pessimist fears he may be right. >> jared, i want to return to you, because this is something
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thus far i think the obama campaign has done a masterful job of keeping the national dialogue, the media dialogue, on mitt romney's weaknesses. we are now seeing serious push-back on the question of the economy which the president is i think dutifully tried to work around in the last few weeks, and i wonder if he needs to have -- well, i think he needs to have a better message when it comes to this question of better off. he was asked about it a few hours ago yesterday, i believe, in a local colorado interview and this is his response. let's take a listen. >> your party says you inherited a bad situation. you've had three and a half years to fix it. what grade would you give yourself so far for doing that? >> i would say incomplete. what i would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we're going to need to grow over the long term. >> jared, do you think that works, giving yourself an incomplete? >> i think it's actually quite
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candid. i was actually kind of impressed by that response and i think it's legitimate. now, i want to just push back on some of the things mort was saying, because he went through a panoply of statistics all of which sounded correct to me but remember i was talking about the 1980s and this comparison to carter. i don't believe that's a winner. if you want to talk about the last four years, i actually think the president has the right framework. i agree with you, he needs to tee it up better. basically, he got here when the house was, i mean, on fire. i remember because i was there. gdp was cratering at a 9% rate when the president took office. we lost over two million jobs in the first three months of 2009. the turn-around, you actually showed it in your first graph, is very significant. if you want to talk about people's mood, i actually believe that people recognize that we are slowly moving in the right direction. perhaps too slowly. and maybe the other side can
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make some hay out of the pace of recovery. but what the president has going for him is the momentum is going in the right direction and the distinction between his policy set and that of the romney campaign basically the trickle down, deregulatory supply side stuff that got us into this mess, that's actually a compelling story that people remember. >> well, but i think you're hitting on a really good point, which is setting aside his record from the past, what does the future look like under a second term president obama administration and there is some real cry, we are going into his big speech on thursday night at the democratic national convention. there is some real cry for the president from both the right and the left to outline some significant priorities. david brooks writes in the "new york times" president obama seems driven by a fear of defeat. his proposals seem bite-sized. if obama can't tell us the big policy thing he wants to do, he doesn't deserve a second term. i think david brooks obviously has his point of view, but there
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are folks that are obama supporters that say just tell us what it's going to look like. >> i can tell you what it's going to look like. i happen to have been an obama supporter and the "daily news" endorsed him. i will point out something unique to this administration and that is they have absolutely displayed a hostile attitude to business and finance that really is pervasive now in the business community and i think that really affects the level of confidence and optimism that the business community feels. instead of uniting the country, i would say to you that it was a program of dividing the country for political reasons and i think that is something that really, really is pervasive in the business community. >> well, we will talk more about the relations between the white house and the business community but when we're talking about the country on whole, independent voters -- >> but this affects the economy. >> who were not bothered by the fat cat comment, setting aside that corporations are still doing quite well and mitt romney says that big business hasn't been held back by regulations.
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the question is can the president paint a compelling portrait for the next four years? >> i think it is the challenge but to go back to what david brooks wrote about, i think one criticism of obama that does resonate is this sort of overpromising of the last campaign and so i think they are very cognizant of that. so the bite-size approach is more kind of pragmatism in a sense of hey, we're going to stick up for fairness, we have core principles that differentiate us from the republicans but we're not going to be like promising like global change on a huge scale the way we did in 2008. >> i think one of the things that you're going to hear, i don't consider it bite-size, would be finishing some of the things that they've started that the other side has on the chopping block. for example, the affordable care act. the idea that a bunch more people will get health insurance, the idea that the medicare program will last eight more years under their measures than they would versus the opposition, that's actually very big for a lot of people. and the implementation of the affordable care act, of
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financial reform, is very much part of the second term agenda. secondly, there has to be more on jobs. i think alex and the others, you're all right about that. there has to be more on the jobs agenda. the private sector has been growing consistently. it's got to pick up but we've been shedding jobs on the public side and i think we would like to hear more about that as well. >> thank you to jared bernstein. sorry we have to leave it there. this is certainly a discussion that warrants hours, hours of television talk time. thanks for your time, sir. coming up, michelle obama, ann romney and american women. as the first lady prepares to address the dnc tonight, will she, like mrs. romney, have a specific message for women? in her 2008 speech, she praised the efforts of one woman in particular. >> i stand here today at the cross currents of that history, knowing that my piece of the american dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. people like hillary clinton.
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who put those 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling so that our daughters and our sons can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher. >> we will discuss all the single ladies, all the married ladies, all the american ladies next on "now." we know a place where tossing and turning
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i'm going to remind people about the values that drive my husband to do what he has done and what he's going to do for the next four years. i'm going to take folks back to the man that he was before he
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was president, because the truth is that he has grown so much, but in terms of his core values and character, that has not been changed at all. >> that was a radio interview that aired this morning with first lady michelle obama, who will give a prime time address tonight at the democratic national convention. what will she do to tee up the week for the dems? "time" magazine's mark halperin reports the first lady will focus on building the economy from the middle class out, setting her sights on the central issue of the election is a tactic that the last incumbent first lady used in her convention address. first lady laura bush's task was foreign policy. >> the stakes are so high so i want to talk about the issue that i believe is most important for my daughters, for all of our families and for our future. george's work to protect our country and defeat terror so that all children can grow up in a more peaceful world. >> but the former first lady
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didn't talk about specific policy. she instead aimed to humanize her husband in the context of the war against terror. >> and i remember sitting in the window of the white house watching as my husband walked on the lawn below. i knew he was wrestling with these agonizing decisions that would have such profound consequence for so many lives and for the future of our world. >> joining us now from charlotte, north carolina, our politico senior political reporter, maggie haberman and msnbc contributor, jonathan capehart of the "washington post." good to see you both. i hope it's not too warm. >> not yet. >> maggie, let's go to you first on this. this speech is going to be scrutinized a lot, especially on the heels of ann romney's debut, if you will, on the national stage as a surrogate for her husband, convincing america that in fact he is a human being but also giving -- rounding out a
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portrait of a candidate. michelle obama is a much more known entity. she's in a lot of ways i think widely accepted to be one of the president's most powerful surrogates. what do you think she needs to do in terms of driving home the message that her husband is doing the most effective job possible, is prioritizing the middle class and the american economy? >> in an odd way, i think she is very different from ann romney. ann romney is not a professional politician. michelle obama is not a professional politician, either, but she has become something of one in the last four years. she has spoken off of a teleprompter, for instance. ann romney had never done that before. they will be judged differently. i think she needs to sell her husband both in terms of the middle class, in terms of policies but i think she also needs to paint this portrait of him as a husband, as a father, as sort of an every day guy because realistically, that is what ann romney was doing about her own husband. i think that michelle obama as we said is widely accepted as a terrific surrogate, as somebody who has been out there, one of
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her husband's strongest. i think she needs to basically make an emotional appeal. i think it needs to be mostly about who the president is as a person. i think there is a sense of sort of americans don't feel a huge connection to him even though his favorables are very high so i think that's what she can do. >> jonathan, we know michelle obama is immensely popular. her favorables are in the 60s. interesting to me that ann romney and the recent i'd say weeks has been playing more of a critical role in terms of i won't say attacking the current sitting president but has certainly had some sharper words for him. that's not something you see and i don't think will see from michelle obama, who it sounds like is going to focus much more on sort of the positives. she'll be speaking about military veterans, she'll be focusing again of course on the middle class. but taking on the gop is not a role that she is going to inhabit. >> no. no. she's not going to, and quite frankly, she doesn't need to. i think i'm going to piggy-back on something maggie just said.
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the first lady, being first lady, all the presidents advisors, she's the one who sits with the president in those private times and sees how he deals with all of the litany of problems he's had to deal with since before coming into the white house. no other person taking that stage at the time warner center or bank of america field, with the exception of the president, can say what it was like to be there when the president had to deal with the economy falling off the cliff. what it was like to be there in retrospect finding out that what the president was trying to do or what he had done was sign off on the plan to kill osama bin laden. what it was like when he had to figure out what to do about saving the auto industry. all of these huge, immense problems, she was there and she can talk to the american people, the people in the hall and the people watching on television, tell them what it's like to deal with this man who is dealing with problems that affect all of them. >> she can really give voice to the complexities of being in the oval office. i think the president has tried
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to do that but certainly having an outside voice and perspective lend, you know, to flesh that out is really important. the other thing, hugo, i think is really important to note here is i found the gop strategy vis a vis reaching women in the american electorate to be pretty one note. it felt very targeted towards married women with children. ann romney's comments focused on sort of women sitting on the sidelines and supporting their husbands. the thing about michelle obama, i think she's an incredibly effective surrogate for both single women, for married women, for women with children, without children, for women focused on their career, because she really has worn all of those hats. >> it's funny, one of the things i would really like to see tonight but i bet you won't see is i would just like to see a bit more fire from michelle obama because i think the thing that she can really talk about that really is exciting is like just her real faith in the president, determination to see -- to be next to him for the last four years and not just to -- one of the problems with
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ann romney's speech is ultimately it didn't reveal anything about her husband that we didn't already know. it's hard to imagine what michelle's going to say that we don't already know, either. so what you would like to see is her passion. there's a story today in the "new york times" that's really about the difference between public and private michelle and behind the scenes she's a really fierce advocate for her husband and very angered by a lot of the attacks on him. i doubt you will see much about that in the speech tonight but i wish you saw a glimmer of it. something that really got her real guts and determination and faith in her husband. >> maggie, it would seem michelle's role, where ann romney was i think most certainly trotted out to appeal specifically to women because the gop seems to have a problem, if you look at the poll numbers, getting women to their side of the aisle. michelle obama is speaking much more broadly to the american public. >> i sort of disagree. i think ann romney did a really good job in terms of i think she was very effective in terms of describing her husband. i think she gave a very specific women-based appeal that you
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don't normally see a candidate's spouse do directly but i do think she -- her husband, given the knocks on him, she had a tough task and she actually did it pretty well. i think michelle obama, the idea is going to be to speak to a broader audience but i do think, hugo got to this a little bit, she does have sort of a tougher task and it is going to be hard to accomplish in the sense of what are we going to learn. republicans have been setting it up but it is realistically the theme, are you better off. this is the question that's being asked now and so it's sort of a mood she is going to have to speak to as much as anything else. i think that will be challenging. >> thank you, maggie haberman and jonathan capehart. we have to leave it there. i hope you guys stay cool. coming up, team obama plans to tout the president's efforts on financial regulation reform, something barney frank has done from the very beginning. >> this is a very good bill.
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and get exceptional values on the audi you've always wanted. we have to remember what the recklessness on wall street really cost us. trillions of dollars in money out of pensions. trillions of dollars in lost value in homes. millions of jobs that were lost. in other words, it was a long fall. >> that was massachusetts senate candidate elizabeth warren this morning talking about how far the economy fell four years ago. a key part of the democrats' plan to rebuild the middle class is reining in the excesses of the financial sector. according to the newly released party platform, today democrats are holding wall street accountable, bringing new transparency to financial markets and ending taxpayer funded bank bailouts in the era of too big to fail. those reforms came through the landmark piece of legislation known as dodd-frank, signed by president obama more than two years ago. >> there will be no more tax
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funded bailouts, period. if a large financial institution should ever fail, this reform gives us the ability to wind it down without endangering the broader economy. >> regulators are still in the process of drafting the specific rules, however. as of july, only a third of them had been finalized. behind the scenes, wall street with the support of more than a few republicans in congress is trying to water down the dodd-frank law and one of governor romney's campaign promises is to repeal it. >> this regulation, dodd-frank, it's called, has not helped enterprise get going. it's slowed it down. >> but as each candidate makes the case for or against financial regulation, are the rules even working? five of the nation's largest banks are now bigger than they were before the economy collapsed, and earlier this year, a risky trading scheme cost jpmorgan chase several billions of dollars. joining us now from charlotte is former u.s. comptroller general and founder, president and ceo
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of the come back america initiative, david walker and also joining us from washington is the "wall street journal" john hilsenrath. david, on the question of financial regulation and how successful the measures have been, i just pointed out that too big to fail is very much something that still exists in the banking sector. no one has actually gone to jail for what is seen as one of the worst financial crises the country has ever faced and even the "new york times" editorial board says look, the investigation into abuses in the housing market is moving far too slowly. so i guess i ask you how would you grade the efforts thus far? >> i think that we had a lack of integrity and accountability in the financial services sector and i think we still haven't had enough in that regard. i think this legislation obviously was intended to try to prevent this type of situation in the future. however, we still have a lot of regulations that haven't been promulgated yet and i still think more needs to be done to
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keep this from happening again. we've got derivatives issues, a variety of other things, and we haven't touched fannie mae and freddie mac. they have to be looked at as well. >> john, i want to go to you. there has been a lot of talk about, you know, repealing dodd-frank entirely, but the word on the street is that, you know, even if romney were to be elected president, that it would likely not be a complete repeal but maybe a tinkering with certain parts of dodd-frank that the banking sector and financial services sector don't like. give us your take on what is feasible in terms of actually amending dodd-frank if there is a republican administration. >> this was a very difficult law to put together. it would be a very difficult law to take apart. but i would say after the great depression, we saw acts like the federal reserve act rewritten several times and i wouldn't be at all surprised if we saw continued tinkering no matter who is president with dodd-frank. we just saw it with oxley, with the rules impeding ipos.
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one of the few things they've gotten done this year. i would say you asked the previous guest for a grade on dodd-frank. i don't think you can give it more than a c-minus right now. frankly, one of the big things you want to achieve with legislation like this is to improve the trust that households have in the banking system. that hasn't happened. gallup surveys show that americans, only 20% of americans trust the banking system right now. that's down from where we were in 2008 and 2009. >> mort, the trust issue is something that we sort of talked about earlier in the show. you were speaking to it vis a vis the financial, wall street and the white house but certainly there is a narrative out there that you can't trust the guys that are managing your money, the country's money. i want to go back to what you were saying before about the problems, the relationship, the frostiness between those in the political class and those in the financial services sector and really specifically the president and the problem that you say he has with business.
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>> i don't think there's any question about that. you couldn't go to any gathering of business people, small, medium or large business people, without running into that sentiment that in fact he's hostile to the business community. i think things he said, well, you know, if you think you started a small business that was successful, you didn't do it. it was basically the roads and the bridges, et cetera. that was an insult to every entrepreneur and every business person in the country. i just want to focus on one thing, because one of the things that david, who has been on this issue well before anybody in the country and with more thoroughness and responsibility. fannie mae and freddie mac were critical to this whole process, producing what was the single most important crash which is the crash in housing, which we still haven't cured. the reason why they were doing it is that the politicians were changing the rules and saying, you know, first no documents, small deposits, no deposits. they literally nourished the
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role of fannie and freddie that ultimately produced a real estate bubble that burst and really hit the banks and hit everybody else. so that is something that i think we must do in order to make sure it doesn't happen again. that is the single most important thing to do and we've done virtually nothing about it. >> i want to respond to two of the things you said. the first is, the fat cat comment, while perhaps not politically expedient, president obama has certainly paid his dues and has felt the pain for having said that. seems to me to be -- have been taken wildly, misconstrued and taken -- >> not just misconstrued but who seriously takes offense at that? >> the issue is that wall street and the financial services sector is doing just fine. even mitt romney acknowledges that. mitt romney was the one that said not but a week ago, big business can deal with the regulations just fine. the other thing i would point out is that you're talking about business that's sitting on trillions of dollars. at the end of the day,
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uncertainty is one thing but to say the president has been an enemy and has been willfully sort of ignoring the concerns of wall street and trying to undermine the business sector i think is out there and i don't understand what it's based upon. >> first place, you have to separate the financial world from the business world. the business community has the opportunity and took this opportunity given how bad the economy was to really get their costs down, in every conceivable way, including employment, okay? they just made their businesses as efficient as they had to in order to make sure they were able to maintain their profitability or at least not get into serious trouble. so that is something that actually the business community has done fairly well. the financial world is a whole other world. let's not merge the two of them because they really -- >> we are talking about the financial world with financial reform right now. the subject is about like what are the political ramifications of how dodd-frank has fared so far. my feeling about it is that financial reform is just a terrible political issue because on the one hand, you have paul ryan up there, it's a disaster. then you have the president,
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it's doing what it's supposed to do. who has any idea? i think -- >> i think the complexity of the reforms are a big problem, because i think they basically make it so that only the banks and their lawyers and their lobbyists have any idea what's really going on, and i think if you ask any typical american what is the main purpose of dodd-frank, what's it really doing, i don't think people have any idea. >> if i could jump in here. >> please, dave. >> this is why i pointed to this measure, this concrete measure we have of trust. you know, after the great depression, the government created federal deposit insurance for banks and it restored the faith of americans in the stability of banks. if you look at this measure, americans don't have more faith and more trust in the banks right now. the one other point i would make is that the really important legislation wasn't dodd-frank, it was t.a.r.p. everybody hates that legislation. it was a bipartisan, it passed congress on bipartisan basis and that's really what saved the banking industry.
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that's what pushed capital into the banks and allowed them to be stable right now while we see banks in europe really on the brink of another disaster. >> can i jump in? >> please. go ahead. >> we had a massive piece of legislation that was enacted into law. there are many, many regulations that have yet to be forthcoming. we have not adequately dealt with the real risk with the major financial institutions and we haven't addressed fannie mae and freddie mac at all. so if you want a grade, i would have to give it a c-minus as well and an incomplete. so it's just not a matter of passing legislation. it's a matter of what the impact of the legislation is, and much remains to be done, no matter who the next president is. >> i will give you another example of the risk that we still have in the financial system. the money market fund industry, this is an industry that the s.e.c. has been trying to regulate. this was one industry that was really in risk of collapsing during the crisis in 2008, and
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they haven't been able to pass the rules they wanted to pass so we still have a source of instability in money market funds which don't really have the safety net behind them and don't have the kind of capital in them that they need to withstand another shock. that was something the s.e.c. failed to advance. >> i have to cut you guys off for a moment. president obama is holding a campaign rally at norfolk state university in virginia right now. let's listen in and hear what he has to say for a couple minutes. >> we don't think that will magically translate into jobs or prosperity for people. we know families won't be better off if we undo all the wall street reforms we put into place to prevent another financial crisis. or that we're going to be better off if we remove rules to protect our air and our water, or if we're going to take away protections we put in place to make sure that health care is there for you when you get sick.
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and we are certainly positive that the best way to strengthen medicare isn't to turn it into a voucher that leaves seniors paying additional costs out of pocket. that's not a plan to create jobs. it's not a plan to lower the deficit. it's not a plan to strengthen the middle class. it's not a plan to strengthen this country. we believe in something better. we believe in an america that says our economic strength doesn't come from the top down, it comes from the middle out. it comes from the bottom up. it comes from workers and students and small business owners and a strong, thriving middle class. we believe in an america where going to school doesn't depend on how much money you have. we believe in an america where getting decent health care doesn't depend on how much money you've got.
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we believe in an america that leads with our military but also takes care of our veterans and stands up for all ideals and shows the power of our example. we believe in an america where no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, what your last name is, you can pursue your own happiness and you can make it if you try. that's what these last four years have been about. that's what this campaign's about. and that's why i'm running for a second term as president of the united states of america. >> that was president obama talking about fairness and the middle class. we will have more on the discussion relating to the white house and his relationship to big business, fairness and of course, wall street, after the break. cool if we took the nissan altima and reimagined nearly everything in it? gave it greater horsepower and best in class 38 mpg highway... ...advanced headlights... ...and zero gravity seats?
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conversation about regulatory reform and the candidates' relationship with wall street and big business. david, i want to ask you, there are a lot of variables. certainly we're talking about regulation as a variable insofar as creating climates of certainty or uncertainty in the business world but also, you know, if we're talking about the big unknowables before november, certainly the economy on whole is one of them. we know that ben bernanke made some comments last week saying the fed may take more decisive action to deal with the unemployment rate and we also know the day after the president speaks this week, we of course are getting jobs numbers out. tell me a little about the picture as far as you can interpret it, the picture that ben bernanke was painting was not a particularly cheerful one last week, and would certainly seem to undermine all keep calm and carry on messages the administration is pushing right now. >> we have a short-term problem. we have weak economic growth. we have high unemployment, higher underemployment.
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we need to address that. at the same point in time this country's finances are in terrible shape. we face large and growing structural deficits due to known demographic trends, rising health care costs. we must address both. we must address both in a comprehensive and integrative fashion and the candidates when they debate, need to be very specific and very substantive about how they propose to do that so that whoever wins will have a mandate for action, because we've got to make progress on both in 2013 or we're going to be in much bigger trouble than we are now. >> mort, you're nodding along in agreement. >> i think he's absolutely right but i think in terms of the short-term political effects of the economy, obviously unemployment and underemployment which is now at 15% according to the federal government, that doesn't even include the 8.5 million people who have simply given up looking for a job. that's got to have a huge effect. the second one, of course, to
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repeat this, when the average homeowner has lost roughly 40% of his equity and net worth which is basically derived from decline in the home value and home equity, that's also bound to have an effect. the key thing is, if you're going to be in government, you've got to take a slightly longer view. politicians will not do that until november. but we have to, must absolutely have to or face the possibility of a real collapse. hemingway once asked a person how did you go bankrupt. he said first slowly, then suddenly. that's the risk that we face here. because confidence could disappear as it has in europe. >> i do want to talk about the move from cyclical to structural unemployment which is sort of a terrifying concept. we get those jobs numbers out every month and the thing i have always found staggering is something like 43% of the unemployed in this country are long term unemployed which then becomes a semi-structural problem. >> five million people have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. the idea is that if we can get the economy going, we can get
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them employed. the worry is that if they stay unemployed for so long, they lose their skills, they lose their contacts and they lose their ability to get back in the job market, and this cyclical problem we've got becomes a long-run structural problem. it's been four years, more than four years since the recession started. i think we're at the point where we've got to start worrying that we're getting some structural problems built into the economy here. >> we certainly will see. all eyes will be trained on those numbers come friday morning. thank you to david walker and the "wall street journal," john hilsenrath. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multi-vitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+. humans -- sometimes life trips us up.
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thank you to hugo and mort for joining me here today in new york city. and for all our friends in charlotte that joined us for the hour. that is all. i will see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i'm joined by bill bradley, new york city deputy mayor howard wolfson, dr.
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zeke emanuel, joel stein and margaret carlson. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon to you, andrea. live in charlotte. andrea, good afternoon to you. i hope it's not too warm in charlotte. michelle obama prepares for her big speech tonight. joining us today, obama campaign senior advisor, robert gibbs. senator richard durbin. congressman javier bacera and human rights campaign president, chad griffin. and we get the romney campaign's response from andrea saul. "andrea mitchell reports" coming up next. [ man ] nice! [ male announcer ] isn't always the one you plan to take. whoa, check it out. hey baby goat... no that's not yours... [ hikers whispering ] ...that's not yours. [ goat bleats ] na, na, na -- no! [ male announcer ] now you can take a photo right from video,
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" today it's michelle's turn. the first lady will kick-start the democratic convention in charlotte with a strong appeal to women in prime time.
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